Mark Lawrence's Reviews > The Lies of Locke Lamora

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
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Jan 13, 2014

So, I was surprised to discover we owned this book, since it's a very well known book but nobody in my house had ever mentioned it to me.

Turns out my wife bought it, tried it, found it too slow, and gave up. I've convinced her to give it another go.

I enjoyed Locke Lamora and his lies quite a bit. Immediately I liked the writing, which combines wit with solid prose. Like my wife I hit a bit of a soft patch early on, though for me it was that I was finding the point of view very 'surface' sharing almost nothing of Locke's thoughts or desires, leaving him a bit of a blank. Lots of fantasy fans quite like a blank to project themselves onto - but I'm not one of them. Fortunately Locke's personality continued to develop and the point of view seemed to settle a little deeper into him as things progressed.

The real strengths of the book are the plotting, the dialogue, and the atmosphere. The dialogue (banter) brings the Gentlemen Bastards to life, the plotting keeps the reader on their toes, and the city is very well imagined.

I was surprised to find that the light-hearted tone (set primarily by the banter between Locke's gang) actually allows a slew of quite dark themes/scenes to slide past with less impact than they might have. The child prostitution, the gruesome torture scenes, and the mutilation dealt out by our hero are all absent in my own début which is often called out for being very dark.

In any event, I found it to be a rewarding read, well written, and entertaining. I'd recommend any fantasy fan to give it a try.

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Reading Progress

January 13, 2014 – Started Reading
January 13, 2014 – Shelved
January 13, 2014 – Shelved as: to-read
January 28, 2014 –
page 55
January 31, 2014 –
page 99
19.84% "It's a very surface book so far - almost no thoughts from the characters, as if we're firmly outside watching. For all that, it's very readable. Don't yet have a reason to root for Locke over the people he's trying to steal from though..."
February 17, 2014 – Finished Reading

Comments (showing 1-31 of 31) (31 new)

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Katie Interesting comparison between your book & his. I've really enjoyed the Locke books (and I must admit, have a soft spot for the's what I always called my thieves when playing D&D). But yes, his inclusion of those less savory topics didn't give me the same visceral response as when you wrote about them. Like the difference between a surgeon & a maniac with his arms elbow-deep in guts. :)

I think my biggest beef was Lynch's (apparent) fascination with apparel. I appreciate having some description of clothing, but I don't need so much I could replicate it for a weekend at the ren-fair.

Mark I very much enjoyed this book and the series as a whole. I also hit that slow soft spot early on and struggled with it. My friend who attempted to read it before me did as well and stopped because of it. Hopefully I can convince him to try again because it is worth it.

Emmalee I found the third book first and enjoyed it immensely, and it really didn't deract from things by reading 3, 1 and 2 in that order. I felt that the second book was really the weakest.

message 4: by Deklan Hoff (new)

Deklan Hoff hey mark how do you write a review????

message 5: by Glenn (new) - added it

Glenn Bastide Rate a book first and it will ask you to write a review, google should have told you that though.

Teresa This is one of the books that I keep starting and putting back down. I love the dialogue, but maybe the pace is also my problem. Maybe it's time to give it another try.

Joanne Hall I really enjoyed it, it's one of those books I wish I'd read earlier.

message 8: by M (last edited Dec 10, 2014 07:28AM) (new) - rated it 1 star

M I have started this book twice. Each time I put it down and decided to either read something else or go outside and run off my frustration. Like a few other books, I just didn't give a damn about the characters. Good dialogue or not, if there is no connection for the reader to a character (love or hate) there is no reason to continue reading.

Teresa So I finally gave this book one last shot, and I managed to finish it this time. It was very enjoyable but a little slow in the beginning.

message 10: by Cj (new) - rated it 3 stars

Cj I'm just now going through this book. I am enjoying it, but at points (not the interludes) I would find myself... not connecting. "..a bit of a blank" hits the nail on the head here. I don't like projecting myself onto characters in fantasy novels. I like relating or not relating, or finding opposition to etc. So, thank you for finding the words I could not find.

People should try this read. It certainly is entertaining and engaging thus far.

message 11: by Miriam (new) - added it

Miriam Michalak Ahhhh I'm pleased to find I wasn't the only one with the problem of not connecting with the characters and becoming very frustrated with this book. Have heard lots of great things about this series and am sad to see it languishing in my 'abandoned' pile. Perhaps I'll give it another chance soon.

Beverly I've started the book twice but I get sidetracked by other books.

Terence Mark wrote: "I have started this book twice. Each time I put it down and decided to either read something else or go outside and run off my frustration. Like a few other books, I just didn't give a damn about..."

I absolutely agree. If you don't connect to the characters it's nearly impossible to like a book. I have certainly experienced the same thing with many different books.

Kenneth I really enjoyed this one. It's just a shame that Red Seas Under Red Skies wasn't nearly as good. I mean, the heist part of that book had everything I enjoyed about Lies, but the whole pirate thing was just stupid beyond all belief.

message 15: by Brad (new) - rated it 4 stars

Brad Kirk Kenneth, the series is completely redeemed in The Republic of Thieves.

Agnes Conway Couldn't get into it, read about a sixth then gave up. Didn't care about the hero.

Chris C There are no many books I don't finish, however, this was one of them. I agree what others have said in relation to not being able to relate/connect to the characters and the slow pace of the book. When its the 1st book in a series, you expect a slower pace initially to build the world and characters' but I'm afraid this did book did nothing for me. Could never understand why it was so highly thought of but, I guess we all have different tastes, even when they are the same.

Nicole While slow.... I still lived it.

message 19: by Brad (new) - rated it 4 stars

Brad Kirk Love this series.

David Gau It's been a while since I've read the book, but I remember liking it right from the start, but I am a fan of Twain and Dickens, and I kind of got that feeling from it.

message 21: by Nann (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nann Nichols Can't say that I ever found this one to be slow. I was totally captured in the "politics", how the characters worked within the lavish, as well as, disgusting settings and especially with the comments/wit of the characters. Such a great point Mark Lawrence makes in that in a fantasy book, intolerable reality can be lessened by light banter and the sense of "just deserves" because you're trying to hurt my favorite character. Love it when my hero is really a "bad guy" but when there are SO many others in the story, so much worse. Gentleman Bastard is another story-set that has me hooked and anxiously awaiting Locke's next complication!!

Mandy Absolutely adored this series! Looking forward the the next installment!

Staywil I loved this series, the characters, the plots, the world, and I cannot wait for the 4th book. Red Seas did kind of drag but it was followed by Republic which did not. I always recommend this book to my fantasy friends. I've even had non fantasy fans read it and like it. Still waiting on #4.......

message 24: by Lisa (new) - rated it 1 star

Lisa I agree with your wife. I gave up because it was too slow but your description does interest me. You might've convinced me to give it another try so it's moving to my second chance pile.

Agnes Conway Nann wrote: "Such a great point Mark Lawrence makes in that in a fantasy book, intolerable reality can be lessened by light banter and the sense of "just deserves" because you're trying to hurt my favorite character..."
Interesting - and logical - that just deserts has turned into just deserves. The first time I've seen that.

message 26: by Sic (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sic Transit I've found Lynch to be a distinct curiosity, in that his technical skill greatly outweighs his storytelling. It's usually the other way around. I liked Locke. I appreciated Red. I have a lot of respect and patience for what he's trying to do. But I find time and again that scenes fall flat, plots aren't rounded off and nothing has quite the impact it should.
He's clearly capable of being an incredible writer. He just isn't quite there yet

message 27: by Kimberly (new) - added it

Kimberly I am about a third of the way through this book and I'm about to put it down. I do agree that it is well written, but the pace is too slow for me. Oh, my word ... so slow. Zzzzzzz.

Chris Certainly a good series which is tracking well. More tongue in cheek than your stuff Mark but clever plot lines overall.

Sabah This series is so good. It’s funny, action packed and sad all at the same time. Locke is one of my favourite fantasy characters and the heists they pull off are brilliant.

Sue (BeautyBookCorner) Exactly how I felt! Great review.

Clara What's this soft spot yall talking about this was a page turner from page one for me. I liked the flash backs more the second time I read it. I do agree that locke's character is bit of a blank though.

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